The word “sustainable” is thrown around a lot these days — almost too much. However, when applied to the words “jobs” and “small business,” it can have special significance. Here’s why.
“Sustainable jobs” mean lasting, better paying work, a more enjoyable work environment, and one that encourages giving back to community. These job characteristics can only be created in well-run companies
I volunteer as a business advisor with Pacific Community Ventures, a nonprofit company dedicated to building successful small businesses committed to creating these sustainable jobs in lower income areas. Small business owners and their business teams have a tremendous opportunity to positively impact our communities.
That sounds great in theory, but where does an entrepreneur who wants to contribute to a thriving workforce begin?
Here are some ideas.
1) If you have the opportunity to operate in and hire from an enterprise zone, these areas can offer significant financial incentives. Established to stimulate business investment and economic revitalization in disadvantaged communities, both businesses and workers can benefit.
2) Small business development centers, offering similar services to those provided by Pacific Community Ventures, exist throughout the U.S. They provide access to local business advisors who are experts in just about every aspect of business.
3) Choose your CPA wisely; you want more than tax expertise. Your CPA should be offering ideas about how well the business is running and ways you might improve it.
4) Take a hard look at how well you play in the competitive sandbox. Look at how often you win. Explore whether or not you use price or value to win. Ask your sales team how often they must discount price below street price in order to win an account.
5) Focus on engaging your team and compensate them for improved performance.
6) Explore how employees can participate in creating long term company value. They start acting and thinking like owners.
7) Encourage community involvement, and add this commitment to community involvement to your mission statement. Tell stories to your customers about what you have done. This creates committed customers.
8) Focus your team on reducing waste. It has always paid to use fewer resources.
9) Find a bank that really cares about your company and build and maintain a strong relationship.
With thoughtful management and conscious choices, small business owners can play an integral role in developing vibrant communities.
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